Michigan Special Olympics Summer Games celebrates inclusion, teamwork

You can't help but smile and celebrate with the winners as The Special Olympics Michigan Summer Games brought 2,500 athletes, coaches, families, fans and volunteers to Central Michigan University.

"When you hear you name, it's a great, great feeling," said competitor Nathan Bocce.

"Special Olympics to me, a sense of inclusion and acceptance," said one of the organizers. "A place where we can be part of a community of sports for our athletes and for individuals with intellectual disabilities. But also for those unified teams where we bring people with those intellectual disabilities and those (without) together, and again, create an inclusive environment."

Yes there are medals and there's serious competition, but at the end of the day it's about a common cause.

"That common cause is inclusion and (it is) celebrating differences, not having differences separate us," said Tim Hileman, CEO of Special Olympics Michigan. "And so, Summer Games is kind of the culmination and the pinnacle of three days of inclusion, but one of the great things is our athletes' after-games. And our volunteers will bring that spirit of teamwork, of joy, of love, of hope, back into their communities throughout the year."

The Special Olympics Oath gives us all words to live by: "Let me win but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."    

Special Olympics Michigan has events happening year-round, including training and athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. 

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